The 2012 Monash University Gold Quill has been awarded to the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson and Deb Masters, whose winning entry to the Best TV Current Affairs/Feature over 10 Minutes put them in the running for the prize.
The pair’s report for Four Corners involved the confronting of alleged people smuggler Captain Emad, and was chosen over all other category winners by the Gold Quill judges.
This year’s section winners demonstrated strong news breaking across a variety of topics. The judges noted with pleasure that younger journalists were so well represented among the winners, which bodes well for the future.
The judges also want to acknowledge for the quality of the visual entries, which were the strongest for years. There were powerful and extraordinary images … A cameraman coming to the rescue of a boy in a flooded creek … Capturing the moment of a river bank collapse at Yallourn. And in particular Alex Ellinghausen’s emblematic shot of a bodyguard Gillard years.
But this year’s Gold Quill winner is an entry which changed the narrative on one of Australia’s most contentious stories.
It is “Smuggler’s Paradise Australia” submitted by Sarah Ferguson and Deb Masters of the ABC’s Four Corners program.
The judges salute the exhaustive footwork and original lines of enquiry in this story. They were impressed that Ferguson and Masters set out to pursue one angle … but found another… and delivered a satisfying package that told both stories.
With a relatively short turnaround, they produced a compelling piece of journalism and a worthy Gold Quill winner.
Young Journalist of the Year
Aisha Dow | The Border Mail
Aisha Dow of The Border Mail has won the 2012 Young Journalist of the Year award. Dow’s work with The Border Mail included articles covering a spike in painkiller overdoses, a homeless pregnant couple and more.
Aisha’s portfolio was an impressive blend of disclosure journalism and descriptive writing. She executed both styles with maturity and creativity.
Her standout work in 2012 was a sustained investigation into the black market for pain-killing fentanyl patches, a trade marked by recruitment of pensioners to sell their prescription drugs and rampant cross-border doctor-shopping. Aisha’s work made national headlines and disclosed that the trade had claimed the lives of at least 50 people in the last two years.
Aisha’s colour pieces on a homeless couple and the discovery of jellyfish in Lake Hume showed she is a gifted writer with an admirable aversion to adjectives and adverbs. All in all, the judges said, an eye-catching portfolio for major media recruiters.
Highly commended for the award were The Age’s Adrian Lowe and Seven News’ Christie Cooper.
Best Sports Photograph
Alex Coppel | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s Alex Coppel has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Sports Photograph.
Big occasion jockey Glen Boss is captured engaging with the Moonee Valley punters along the main straight, just after the official presentations for the Cox Plate (a miniature version is presented to the winning hoop) – great pic, which captures the moment, with great spontaneity.
Best Features Photograph
George Salpigtidis | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s George Salpigtidis has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Features Photograph. Salpigtidis’ winning photograph drew together two A-League rivals for a stunning pre-season action shot. There were no highly commended entries in this category.
As Salpigtidis states in his entry statement ‘’getting such high profile players from rival Melbourne ‘A League’ teams to the beach – at sunset – was half the battle.
The image is well conceived and executed, which probably account for the run it received on the back page of the paper and not inside. The image is perfectly lit (not always possible with sportsmen), freeing both players in mid-air, chasing the elusive round ball, on the eve of the ‘A League’ season. It is a pity the sunset was cropped out for publication!
Best News Photograph
Alex Ellinghausen | The Age
The Age’s Alex Ellinghausen has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best News Photograph.
Alex’s winning photograph depicted Prime Minister Julia Gillard being dragged away from the 2012 Australia Day protests.
Ticks all the boxes on so many levels, news awareness to put yourself in the right spot and then execute despite the huge security detail associated with the PM and her opposite number. The incident itself, Australia’s female PM ‘dragged’ through protestors, led all news services across multiple platforms on the day, made international bulletins and was the subject of discussion for days after.
You always know you have a great news pic, when the newspaper cartoonists fall over themselves to put their own spin on your great pic – the PM lost a shoe in the incident.
Barrie Cassidy | The Drum, ABC Online
The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Columnist/Blogger.
His winning entry consisted of a number of pieces published on The Drum website, including “Prisoner of war: my father’s story” and “Leadership tussle: Rudd circles, Gillard stumbles”.
Cassidy combines engaging storytelling with knowledge and sharp insight. His columns display originality of thought and a wide variety of subjects.
Highly commended for this category was the Herald Sun’s Andrew Rule and The Age’s Greg Baum.
Best Radio News Report
Heidi Murphy | 3AW
3AW’s Heidi Murphy has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Radio News Report. Murphy’s piece revealed a leaked report on the biggest survey of community attitudes around the road toll.
The report showed that 92 per cent of Victorians surveyed strongly agreed educating young drivers of safety risks should be the government’s first priority.
There were no highly commended entries for this award.
Murphy made great use of her contacts, breaking a story on the results of the Baillieu Government’s major road safety survey. She dodged the government’s spin doctors and put pressure on the government to take action.
Murphy obtained the initial findings of the big public study of road safety concerns, which raised questions about the effectiveness of the TAC’s shock style ad campaign.
Best Radio Current Affairs Report
Charlotte King | ABC Radio
ABC Radio’s Charlotte King has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Radio Current Affairs Report.
King’s report for AM investigated drug usage in regional centres and how an outlaw motorcycle gang recruited young people to push drugs.
No stories received a highly commended mention in this category.
King convinced a young woman recovering from a drug habit to tell her story revealing the ignorance of regional teenagers to the dangers of drugs.
Her compelling piece told of links to bikie gangs and a speedy descent into drug hell.
Her story exposed a serious drug problem in regional Victoria linked to organised crime. She followed up her contacts and used great initiative, drawing attention to a problem normally associated with big cities.
Best Business Story in any Medium
Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker | The Age
The Age’s Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Business Story in any Medium. McKenzie and Baker’s winning story exposed a memo which warned Reserve Bank chiefs of possible bribery in 2007.
The story revealed RBA Chiefs knew about alleged corruption before police began a probe and raised questions about whether the pair had misled parliament.
McKenzie & Baker’s scoop resulted from three years’ investigation and revealed that the reserve bank Governor and Deputy Governor knew about alleged corruption within the RBA. It forced an about-face by the Governor who had given evidence denying knowledge of corruption. This outstanding report made a powerful front page that prompted a further grilling before a Parliamentary Committee.
Best Suburban Report in Print
Beau Donelly | Port Phillip Review Local
The Port Phillip Review Local’s Beau Donelly has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Suburban Report in Print.
Donelly’s winning story was an exposé of illegal brothels in Melbourne and showed how authorities were unable to keep up with their actions.
Beau’s four month investigation set out to expose the failure of authorities to locate, investigate, prosecute and shut down illegal brothels in Melbourne.
The judges commended Beau on his clarity of writing and extensive and persistent research. He pushed beyond traditional methods of reporting – sifting through hundreds of pages of information from Chinese language websites to get the facts and importantly get results from the police.
He was also able to find a trafficked sex worker and convince her to tell her story, which displayed enormous sensitivity. This was the standout entry.
Emma Hastings of the Waverley Leader was highly commended for the award.
Best TV News Report
Dean Felton | Seven News
Seven News’ Dean Felton has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best TV News Report.
Gippsland was in the midst of a flood drama and Seven captured the moment a dam wall broke and a Yallourn mine flooded.
The story, with its exclusive material, captured the exact moment of mine flooding and was of statewide significance.
Highly commended for the award were Nine News’ Brendan Roberts and ABC TV’s Frances Bell.
Best Sports Feature in any Medium
Patrick Carlyon | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s Patrick Carolyn has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Sports Feature in any Medium.
Carolyn went to Liam Jurrah’s home northwest of Alice Springs after the AFL footballer was barred from returning by a court order.
An outstanding examination of the heritage of Melbourne Footballer Liam Jurrah, in which the writer visited his homeland in the isolated community of Yuendumu, describing, via multiple sources, the complex influences and culture that may have affected his off-field actions.
Best Sports News Story in any Medium
Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker | The Age
The Age’s Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Sports News Story in any Medium.
The pair uncovered evidence of leading Australian jockey Damien Oliver betting on a rival horse.
The report was a bolt of lightning to the racing industry, in the midst of the Spring Carnival, and led to the disqualification of renowned jockey Damien Oliver. The story covered every base, was factually correct, and had a significant impact on an industry that requires ultimate integrity and trust at all levels of its operations to function effectively.
Best Use of the Digital or Online Medium
Finn Bradshaw, Alistair Paton, Sam Landsberger & Gilbert Gardiner | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s Finn Bradshaw, Alistair Paton, Sam Landsberger and Gilbert Gardiner have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best use of the Digital or Online Medium.
The winning entry was the Herald Sun’s online AFL coverage.
The footy bible for fan. Easy to navigate, packed with stats, facts and profiles presented using the full suite of multimedia tools, with a keen sense of storytelling that was consistent across the season. And it doesn’t ignore what journalism is there for – to break stories with regularity.
Best Regional or Rural Affairs Report in any Medium
Anna MacDonald | 7:30, ABC
The ABC’s Anna MacDonald has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Regional or Rural Affairs Report in any Medium.
MacDonald’s report for 7.30 Vic investigated regional doctors’ concerns about some country communities being “flooded” by practitioners trained overseas.
The report explains a new business model that takes doctors with limited qualifications and packages them in medical clinics across regional Victoria.
This well researched report exposes a new element in the gap between city and country medical services.
Best Illustration or Graphics in any Medium
Andrew Dyson | The Age
Andrew Dyson of The Age has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Illustration or Graphics in any Medium. Dyson’s illustration depicts the increasingly vicious nature of Australian federal politics.
Dyson’s illustration strongly reflects the context of Michael Gordon’s editorial – the mounting aggression prevalent between Australia’s political opponents.
The image is a powerful and succinct and references the story immediately.
Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism
Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker | The Age
The Age’s Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker have won the 2012 Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism.
Their winning articles exposed corrupt customs officers with links to organised crime working at Sydney Airport.
This story revealed widespread corruption and criminal activity at Australia’s biggest airport, with grave implications for national security.
It is a perfect example of great investigative reporting. It resulted in sackings, prosecutions and resignations and there is more to come. There were attempts to supress the story which put pressure on the reporters. A great piece of work.
Andrew Dyson | The Age
The Age’s Andrew Dyson has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Cartoon.
Dyson’s cartoon contrasts the issues in the Catholic Church and the Australian Defence Forces.
The cartoon encapsulates in a powerful and humorous way, the sensitive and difficult topic of institutionalised abuse.
Best Three Headlines in any Medium
Adrian Nesbitt | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s Adrian Nesbitt has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Three Headlines in any Medium.
Nesbitt’s headlines were well thought-out puns on topical news events.
There were no highly commended entries for this Quill.
Adrian’s headlines identify the subject matter in a clever, amusing and informative way. He uses a strong element of the traditional in a new media platform, where it’s essential to catch the reader’s eye.
“Last of the Punter Gatherer” was the favourite of the three headlines.
Best News Camera Coverage
Glenn Edwards | Nine News
Nine News’s Glenn Edwards has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best News Camera Coverage.
Edwards’ winning entry showed him saving a lost autistic child from a river, employing his skills as both a cameraman and a trained lifesaver to save the boy while the camera was rolling.
Glenn took the initiative to scout nearby waterways after police said the autistic child had a fascination with water. On discovering the child in the water, he locked off the camera, swam to save the child, then continued to shoot while soaking wet.
A great example of a cameraman being in the right place at the right time aswell as having the foresight to capture the moment. Glenn’s actions saved the child from certain harm and the pictures were memorable and compelling.
Best Coverage of an Issue or Event
Anthony Dowsley & Wayne Flower | Herald Sun
The Herald Sun’s Anthony Dowsley and Wayne Flower have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Coverage of an Issue or Event.
The winning entry was their series of extended articles on the Jill Meagher case over a number of months.
The disappearance of Irish-born Melbourne woman Jill Meagher gripped Melbourne for a week. By week’s end, a man had been charged with her rape and murder.
The Jill Meagher story captured Victoria’s – and the nation’s – attention like no other in 2012. In a field of exceptionally strong entries across a range of subjects, the six submitted on the Jill Meagher story were almost inseparable. In the end, the judges selected the Herald Sun’s entry as winner. It demonstrated great editorial coverage in seizing on what could have been a routine and short-lived missing persons story.
RACV Transport Quill
Amelia Harris | Herald Sun
Herald Sun’s Amelia Harris has won the RACV Transport Quill for 2012.
Harris won the award for her story “65 Rogue Truckies”, which revealed rorting in which hundreds of truck drivers were fraudulently issued heavy vehicle licences.
Harris also won the RACV Transport Quill with the Herald Sun’s Stephen Drill at the 2011 Quills.
Harris’s story revealed 650 truck drivers who were allegedly illegally licenced on Victorian roads.
Her story was a genuine exclusive with a tight turnaround. The story placed pressure on the government and Vicroads to review agreements with accredited testing providers. This story has ongoing ramifications.
Best Deadline Report in any Medium
Yasmin Paton | Network Ten
Network Ten’s Yasmin Paton has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Deadline Report in any Medium.
Paton’s reports for Ten News gave a detailed account of a hammer attack on a Protective Services Officer and subsequent gun theft in a short timeframe.
Despite intense time pressure and a complex breaking story, Yasmin hit her deadline with an accurate, comprehensive and polished report.
Best Feature in Print
Ruth Lamperd | Sunday Herald Sun
The Sunday Herald Sun’s Ruth Lamperd has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best Feature in Print.
Lamperd’s gripping feature covered the battle to save a baby girl born addicted to drugs.
Highlighted the scale and emotional cost of drug addiction and particularly how the innocent – in this case a new born baby – are impacted.
This was a finely told human interest story, both moving and confronting, but devoid of sensationalism. It was obtained only by tenacity after 18 months and 25 visits to the hospital to find a mother comfortable enough for Ruth to watch a baby going through drug withdrawal. It was written with short, sharp sentences and vivid word pictures.
Best News Report in Print
Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Jane Lee | The Age
Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Jane Lee of The Age have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best News Report in Print.
The trio’s story exposed confidential police reports which detailed the suicides of at least 40 people sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Victoria.
It revealed the contents of police reports which detailed the deadly fallout from the activities of several predatory priests and teachers.
The Age’s revelation that secret police reports identified up to 40 young men who suicided after sexual abuse by paedophile clergy, had a clear impact and public interest. It was a catalyst that led to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry and a federal Royal Commission.
Best TV Current Affairs/Feature over 10 Minutes
Sarah Ferguson & Deb Masters | Four Corners, ABC
The ABC’s Sarah Ferguson and Deb Masters have won the 2012 Quill Award for Best TV Current Affairs/Feature over 10 Minutes.
The pair’s report for Four Corners involved the confronting of alleged people smuggler Captain Emad.
Fellow Four Corners reporters Mario Christodoulou, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Clay Hichens were highly commended by judges, as were the ABC’s Australian Story reporters Kirstin Murray & Mara Blazic.
This entry award won the Monash University Gold Quill Award for 2012.
Best TV Current Affairs/Feature under 10 Minutes
Heather Ewart | 7:30, ABC
The ABC’s Heather Ewart has won the 2012 Quill Award for Best TV Current Affairs/Feature under 10 Minutes.
Ewart’s report for 7.30 highlighted the continuing issues of workplace bullying.
A young man who got his dream job after overcoming obstacles was turned away after nine days by a horrific case of workplace bullying. Ewart’s sensitive investigation into the heart breaking issue of workplace bullying revealed the extent of the problem across the country.
Her interview with a brave victim from Shepparton led to Worksafe re-opening their investigation as well as the DPP.